American Idol XIV – Live Blog and Recap – Auditions No. 3 (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap for American Idol 14, “Auditions No. 3”! Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr. continue their search for the next American Idol!
The auditions roll into Kansas City, Mo., as more potential contestants step up for a shot at a Golden Ticket to Hollywood! But will a potential finalist be in tonight’s group? Could the winner be among tonight’s auditioners? Also, will we see any returnees coming back for another shot at the American Idol crown?
Keep it locked right here, as I’ll be updating the post with live, running commentary and analysis.
Let’s get this show on the road!
-We open with a look at the Idol audition bus, as it stops through Tallahassee, Albuquerque, and Amarillo, just to name a few places. And we’re told that a lot of talent was found on the journey, so those lucky bus ticket recipients are headed to Kansas City for today’s auditions. We also get J-Lo showing Harry the cover to her single for “Booty,” and although Jen says Harry is like her brother, he says he can still appreciate a good booty. Can’t we all, Harry. Can’t we all.
“BIG” RON WILSON, 24, is up first!
-Big Ron talks about himself in the third person, saying he thinks J-Lo is going to feel him. Case in point, he comes into the audition room singing “Jenny from the Block,” and asking Jennifer to call him “Big Sexy”. Of course, he describes himself as a good time, and I believe it, if only because the video package shows him getting his dance on and flirting with women in the holding room prior to the audition. Dude has loads of personality.
-He sings “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye, and it’s pretty good. Harry and Keith realize that Ron is singing to J-Lo, and decide they don’t need to be there, so they leave in the middle of the audition to grab a cheeseburger. They then come back about 30 seconds later, with Harry talking about it being the best burger he’s ever had. For some reason, I found that absolutely hilarious.
-Harry feels there’s a lot of showmanship going on, and states he’ll have to balance that out with more vocal prowess. But J-Lo loved it, and Keith is the first to say “yes”. The judges are unanimous…
“BIG” RON WILSON is going to Hollywood!
-Ron runs into the holding room, where his mother absolutely FLIPS OUT, in one of my favorite Golden Ticket moments of the season so far. I’m fully on-board the “Big” Ron hype train, mostly on personality (although his voice is perfectly fine).
-Back from break with a guy whose falsetto is ridiculous…and kind of unpleasant. I’m not sure if he’s supposed to be a joke audition or not, because the judges aren’t reacting to him like one. At least not until Harry starts doing scales on the piano to see how high he can go, which has Keith busting up. Ultimately, while the judges like this guy, he doesn’t get through to Hollywood.
-We then get a montage of Gold Ticket recipients…
ASHLEY LUSK, 15 (girl with guitar and a really nice voice)
JOSH SANDERS, 26 (dude with guitar and a really nice voice)
CASEY THRASHER, 23 (familiar face from last year with a guitar and a really nice voice)
ASHLEY LUSK, JOSH SANDERS, CASEY THRASHER and JOEY COOK are going to Hollywood!
JOEY COOK, 23, is up next!
-I think I’m in love. Seriously, I can’t get enough of Joey Cook, who’s utterly adorable and incredibly unique. She sounds a little bit like Karen O, with a hint of Regina Spektor. Her “squeeze box” just adds so much character to this performance that I’m all-in with her.
-That said, the judges absolutely MUST stop talking during these frigging auditions. It’s outrageously disrespectful, even if they’re chatting positivity about the artist auditioning. It’s just rude. I couldn’t have imagined talking during this because it would have meant not being transfixed. I LOVE her, especially this version of “The Tallest Man on Earth” by King of Spain. And the judges love her too, as Keith says she is his favorite voice of the day, while J-Lo loves her uniqueness. However, Harry warns against coming across as too novelty. But it’s still three yeses for her. She cries when getting hugged by her mom.
JOEY COOK is going to Hollywood!
I’m rooting for her 100%. I worry whether or not she’ll fall apart in Hollywood, since this sort of competition doesn’t seem to privilege an artist like her.
-We return with a montage of just how hard it is for country artists to break through at this particular audition. But one girl is looking to break through.
ALEXIS GOMEZ, 22, is up next!
-Alexis is a Spanish tutor with no shoes and a shiny guitar. She sings “Little White Church” by Little Big Town, and honestly, it’s not bad at all. But it’s kind of unspectacular. I’m not sure I’m going to remember this by the end of the night.
-Neither Harry nor Keith is particularly impressed, considering just how many good country singers have come and gone at these auditions already. Still, there’s something about her. She promises to work hard to gain their confidence. Keith says no, but J-Lo and Harry say yes, which is just enough to get her through.
ALEXIS GOMEZ is going to Hollywood!
-And we keep things going…
ANTON BUSHNER, 19, is up next!
-Anton is dressed like a cowboy, with his Stetson hat, tucked-in flannel shirt, and his boots. He says Keith is his favorite country singer, and is honored to be meeting him. Keith seems genuinely touched by this, and it makes for a genuinely sweet little moment. He sings “Tonight I Wanna Cry”, and honestly, I didn’t love it, but it’s not as if it was bad either. Much like with Alexis, it was just kind of forgettable.
-The judges love Anton’s authenticity, with Harry adding that he particularly liked his humility and the respect he showed Keith. The judges are unanimous once again…
ANTON BUSHNER is going to Hollywood!
-We go to break with a trivia question as to whether or not a guy named Cedric will be headed to Hollywood. He sings “Rumor Has It,” and it’s pretty good, so I’m guessing he makes it through. Back from break, and yup, Cedric is through to Hollywood. And with that, we move on to our next contestant…
STEPHANIE GUMMELT, 18, is up next!
-Stephanie’s voice is incredibly high, like she just breathed in an entire tank of helium. She says she talks like this when she’s excited, but Harry jokes that he doesn’t know what she’s so nervous about, she’s just auditioning for American Idol. Stephanie plays an original for her audition, and she plays guitar BEAUTIFULLY. And she sings just as well, to my surprise. She’s a good songwriter, to boot.
-She talks about some of her influences, which include James Taylor and Steve Perry, “which is another problem” since he’s 64. Harry reminds her that Steve was once 12 too, so she shouldn’t be so nervous. He then asks what she’d do if Steve were here, and she does this silly pick-up line that basically amounts to “Hey.” Harry fakes her out by pretending that Steve Perry is here, and she flips out, saying that if he were really here, she’d vomit. Oh my God, this girl is ADORABLE. She kind of looks like Mary Lynn Rajskub. The judges adore her, although Harry wants more breath behind her voice. Still, it’s a no-brainer…
STEPHANIE GUMMELT is going to Hollywood!
-I absolutely love this girl, and hope she goes far. This was such a great audition.
ASHLEY STEHLE, 15, is up next!
-Ashley’s dad has been deaf her whole life, but new hearing aid technology has allowed him to finally hear her sing. If she sings into a receiver, it transfers into his hearing aid. J-Lo is really moved by the backstory, and fights back tears. She auditions and sings “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys, and it actually starts off quite beautifully. She has a really nice tone, and enunciates well. However, it quickly goes off the rails, as she’s unable to stay on key. It’s a heartbreaker, but it’s clear she can’t keep the key while singing a cappella, and the judges note this.
-They’re heartbroken to have to say so, but Harry says Ashley is just not ready. But he notes that the support and love she receives from her family fills his heart beyond words. He wishes her the best, but says this just isn’t her year. J-Lo and Keith are in agreement. No gold ticket for Ashley, unfortunately.
-Ashley is devastated, but through her tears, she says she made her dad proud, and that’s what matters. We see him embracing her and giving her a kiss, and it’s all so painfully sweet. Keith seems plagued by having had to tell her no. But she really wasn’t ready at all.
-Back from break with a series of rejected contestants who just didn’t make it onto the Idol bus. There’s one guy with an insane falsetto I’d have given a shot to, but other than that, nobody was a standout.
ELLEN PETERSEN, 22, is up next!
-Ellen has a banjo, and is dressed like Jewel in the mid-90s. No sooner do I finish typing that sentence does she start yodeling too. Her audition song is “I Wanna Be A Cowboy’s Sweetheart,” and it’s really good. One of my favorites of the hour. I think she has a lot to offer the competition. Her voice is kind of subtle, but with hints of power to it. I almost felt like she was holding back a bit.
-Harry loves that she didn’t overdo the banjo, and says she not only has a great voice, she makes him proud to be from “this great land.” Keith echoes that sentiment and praises her talent, while J-Lo is ready to vote. It’s a yes from all three judges.
ELLEN PETERSEN is going to Hollywood!
-Harry then asks if Ellen knows the theme song to The Beverly Hillbillies, which she does. So she plays it for them while Keith and Harry clap and sing along. It’s a fun little moment that makes me wish more people watched these days, if only because it seems like they’ve finally got the right panel for the post-Simon years.
KOHLTON PASCAL, 21, closes the show!
-Kohlton is a traveling musician, who never stays in one place for more than four days. He says he travels to defeat boredom, saying that the only negative of his lifestyle is the loneliness. He talks about passion, and says the word comes from the Latin for suffering for what you love to do. He says he misses his family something fierce, but this is his calling.
-Kohlton sings an original called “Sitting Here Beside Me”. But his voice is so deep and full of character that I’m immediately reminded of the late Joe Cocker. It was a bit of a downer audition, but his voice is fantastic and unlike anything I can recall hearing on this show — full of soul, but also kind of dark.
-Harry makes a good point when he says that he isn’t sure what Kohlton is auditioning for. He thinks Kohlton has a chance, but isn’t sure he’ll be willing to go far enough to get outside his comfort zone to do what he needs to win. Keith loves what he hears aurally, but not visually, since Kohlton isn’t very expressive. J-Lo has similar concerns, saying she’s a fan of his voice, but isn’t sure about him. Of course, this is a bit of a misdirect, since all three judges are unanimous…
KOHLTON PASCAL is going to Hollywood!
-And we close with the judges enjoying some BBQ, and talking about the success they’ve had in the auditions process, as they feel they’ve got some Top 10 contenders (although they aren’t sure they’ve found the Idol just yet).
-And that’s a wrap! We return tomorrow with a 2-hour show, and Adam Lambert as a guest judge! Until then, let us know what you thought of the auditions by sounding off in the comments! Thanks for reading!